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Baker Act

What is the Baker Act?

The Florida Mental Health Act, commonly referred to as the Baker Act, focuses on crisis services for individuals with mental illness, much like an emergency department is for individuals experiencing a medical emergency.

What are the Criteria for a Baker Act?

An individual may be taken to a receiving facility for involuntary examination under the Baker Act if:

  • There is reason to believe he/she has a mental illness and due to the mental illness, the individual has refused or is unable to determine if examination is necessary; and either;
  • Without care or treatment, the individual is unlikely to care for themselves which can result in substantial harm to their well-being, and it is not evident that harm can be avoided through familial intervention or other services; or
  • It is likely, based on recent behavior, that without treatment, the individual will pose a serious threat to themselves or others.


Florida Baker Act Data

Baker Act Reporting Center Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Report Highlights



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Language Matters

Stigma causes individuals to feel shame and keeps them from seeking help. Here are a few helpful things that we can do to reduce stigma around mental illness:


Describing someone as 'living with' or 'diagnosed with' a mental illness.

Using adjectives like 'unusual' or 'erratic' when describing behavior.

Using psychiatric or medical terminology correctly and in the proper context.


Using words like 'crazy', 'psycho', 'schizo'', or 'lunatic' to describe a person with a mental illness.

Using words like 'crazed', 'deranged', 'mad', 'psychotic' to describe unusual or erratic behavior.

Using diagnoses out of context as with 'psychotic dog', or using 'schizophrenic' to denote duality.